Thursday, May 29, 2008

F'ing Logs..

Managed to get a little riding in last night at Neshimany. Meet up with some folks that ride there pretty regularly and the hubby (who had already been in the trails for the past couple hours) willing to take it "easy" with me. Granted I was the weak link even pushing harder than I intended at times.

Neshimany is a fun place. Except all the f'ing log overs that I can't do. I know it's mental, I know I should be able, I know my bike would go over it. Trust the bike... many two wheeled apparatuses just like yours complete the task... you just watched them... But I hesitate and stop. Not the little logs here or there, but the build up log overs. Give me a pile of rocks and no problem... same pile but as logs and I don't. Heck even some larger logs stopped me last night.

So Neshimany is the place I'll use to get me over it. This battle might just result in a few bruises...

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Granoque. A true Love & Hate relationship for me...

But first... HUGE thank you to everyone that made this event happen. Marc, you rule.

Thank you to Everyone. The ones who spend their hours getting the trails ready, the sponsors, the DuPont's for letting us tear up their estate. Great venue, great cause, great $$ raised.

Thank you's to everyone cheering. It really was quite motivating (and surprising!) hearing my name yelled out from everywhere. Thank you to Diane for warning me not to pass when I would have ended up in a water pit if I had!

The love & hate....
Love.... such an awesome place, awesome group of people, the day of hanging about - A blast!
The single track.. some of the best. The sun was shinning. Truly another awesome venue.

See, my mountain bike and I don't get along with each other when there's not rocks, roots or mud under her tires. We develop this failure to communicate.... I say move forward when I pedal, she says nope, you gotta pedal faster. I couldn't.
This SUCKED for me. Grassy climbs, dirt flats and a paved road climb. Not friends of mine.

This was another race that my time at the front was limited to the starting line.

Sorry out there for all those who cheered. Yesterday was not my day. From the start I feel back on the first little climb to the tower, met with the bottleneck coming from the backside of the tower, managed to pass a few on the little downhill before heading into the FUN twisty section (did I mention FUN) even passed another after the grass/gravel flats. My first lap did not have a groove. My finishing position had already been determined. 5th out of 7 in my class. (Only hubby gets to crown the boy's with a medal this week.. a great 2nd place finish!)

I began cramping in my first lap. Even though I had and was drinking plenty. Even during endurance races I didn't have cramping like this. I made sure to drink my bottle empty before finishing lap one where hubby was kindly waiting with a fresh bottle. (I'd share the picture he took here but... um... it's really really awfully embarrassing). I was dreading a second lap. But the second lap was an interesting mix... The second lap is when I enjoyed the singletrack even more. I somehow got into a fun groove (even while getting sick throughout, my stomach had turned and needless to say this race's pre-nutrition regiment won't be repeated)

Granoque is a blast to ride, mostly. I still hated the grass... but moreso that paved climb. But heck by the second time up it I was going to the finish. It didn't even matter.

But I can't wait to tackle it next year! (and I might even keep my 'cow' bracelet on til then)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chivalry is lost…

Not that I care about any of that stuff but yesterday was just funny.

You know when you’re driving and you hear that ‘wonderful’ sound of your car hitting something…. then you wait for it. Reduce your speed from 85mph. The wheel starts pulling… you pull over… confirm… yep, that’s one flat tire. Thankfully it wasn’t completely flat and I was able to limp my way into the turnpike rest stop. (The thought of changing my tire on the side of the turnpike was a little less than appealing)

Called the hubby and let him know I’d be running just a little later than planned. He kindly offered to come assist me but I figure it'd be changed before he could even get to me.

So I pull out all the tools, start loosening the lugs and get the jack turning. That’s when one of the turnpike cop’s pulls up and asks “everything okay?” Which I reply “sure, fine, just changing a flat tire” (in case he hadn’t actually noticed). Now I’ve had a few flat tires in my time and I’ll admit, every time some Good Samaritan would pull over and help the ‘damsel in distress’. And yes, though I was able, I’d let the ‘man’ do it. But last night was a first.

This cop actually gets out of his car, sits on the hood, pulls out a smoke and just starts talking to me while I’m changing the tire. Some casual conversation, some ‘coaching’ on how I should do this whole tire changing process but mostly just taking a break in his ‘work day’. I finish up without many hiccups (okay, the tire I pulled off the car didn’t fit in the trunk! Glad I didn’t have a passenger, they would have been hugging a tire, or curled up in the trunk).

But then the cop compliments my abilities and actually departs saying “I’d shake your hand but… um… yours are a little dirty” No shit jackass, I just changed a tire while you had some smokes. But I just laugh and say “Thanks – have a great day” It was almost like when you thank a cop after he gives you a ticket, the polite goodbye. What the heck did I just say Thanks for???

Monday, May 19, 2008

Trail Work and...

Sunday was a cool and fun day working on the Neshimany trails. Of course it’s always fun to play in the dirt and move rocks but this time it was actually with a purpose - Build Trails. My first time “building trails” and it was cool (and a little scary) seeing what goes into making the trails. The occasional thought, so that’s what we ride on?

Didn't ride on the trails after working since the rain was soon to come (add in being a little tired / hungry). Neshimany looks to be another fun race. The section we were working on would only be for the expert/sport racers, which included a nice banked downhill. We walked the trails some when we first got there and I got to see that most the trails look fast, the occasional root or log build up, but overall just keep your speed. Lots of singletrack, little passing room. I'm hoping get a ride or two there before the race and get a better feel.

I've also had little thoughts on my mind since Friday, when I got the news that the company I previously worked with sold to another company. I know, no big deal, happens every day. But this was the company I was with from the ground up, hubby and I were both there. I got to develop and run in some regards, took them public, the reason I was never out riding in 2006 into 2007. The reason we live in PA, the reason we almost moved to Australia last summer. It was just kinda weird to have something big happen with them and not be part of it. But also realizing how glad I am that I wasn't part of it, knowing the caious that would have been. It's weird to know that the name of that company will no longer exist… it'll be gone..

But Friday also brought some great discussions with the company I joined a few weeks ago. Again strategizing about the future, where to go and things to do. I’ve known since I first met with them that it was a perfect fit for me. Great group of young quick thinkers (okay, sucks I’m kinda the oldest in the ‘management group’) but it’s the kind of group of people you can enjoy working with everyday. I get to do all the things I enjoy (sure... there’s always a few necessary evils). Its great being part of what’s happening in the plant again, the day to day details but also taking that step back ‘big picture’ view for the future.

What I’ve thought about (or should I say realized) since Friday. The symbolism. Perhaps best said -In with the new.. out with the old. Really - time for me to enjoy my work life but most importantly allow the time and focus for what really is important to me… Hubby, the boy's, biking - time to be the best wife I can and maybe even the mountain biker I know I could be.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Great day of road riding…

Yea, I said road riding and great in the same statement…

I drove from the house to Peace Valley Park for my road ride today while Hubby road from the house around the same time to begin his ride. A little chilly out but the sun shining bright. It really turned out being a beautiful day.

When I was in the parking lot getting ready, I noticed a deer watching me. It was the sweetest thing, we just began staring at each other. I finished getting ready and went to the edge of the woods towards the deer – stopped and sat there for a second. The deer was the cutest I’ve seen and as just as inquisitive about me as I was about her. To my surprise, she started coming over to me… within inches. We just started at each other for a few minutes. I had to pull out the camera phone....

It was a nice little inquisitive interchange between us and was a great way to start a ride.
What made it even better was hubby rolling up as the deer and I were saying our goodbyes.

Then the ride began.

So what happens when you mix a very strong sport racer with an average beginner racer? The beginner racer gets worked and the sport racer gets a nice easy ride. It was a great ride for me and it was great to ride with him, I loved it. During the ride my heart rate was higher than any other recent ride. Only 22.1 miles for me but he helped me play around with my riding style, climbing and gearing. I started with a climb that usually challenges me but I managed my way up stronger than normal. We rolled around, up – down - flats, where ever in our normal area and just had a great ride. We finished off with my first stop to Tabora farms and we both got a little post ride ‘nutrition’. Even got a little white chocolate coconut treat for later.

Tomorrow brings a potential mountain bike ride and work day at Neshimany for Guy’s race there this June. Hope the weather holds….

Monday, May 12, 2008

Beyond Stupid

Last night I was the ultimate Jackass.. Beyond stupid.

Why is it we always take out our frustration on the ones we love. And never for any good reason. Perhaps because they are always there for us, even when they wish they weren’t.

My true frustration this yesterday was all just with myself. The person I am, the cyclist I am. What I’ve become.... But that’s not what came across.

I just felt behind on everything in life yesterday.

Sunday began great, a sweet Mother’s day card from our boys and a nice breakfast with the hubby (even though Cracker Barrel didn’t sit well for either of us). Followed up by a little road ride. Another solo road ride for me, the post-race day slow easy recovery ride. Probably like many other people out there.

But I got all wound up that my pace isn’t fast enough to ride with anyone else. That I couldn’t climb up that gravel hill faster on Saturday. Okay, a whole self pity experience. But instead of just swallowing my pity, or at least talking about why I was actually down, I just became a moron. I don’t think I really realized until today why I was so “off” yesterday.

My hubby is nothing but wonderful and supportive and certainly doesn’t deserve to deal with a basket case, but he did last night. Every day he does numerous wonderful things for me. For me. Why do I never say the great things I think and feel every day. Why was I focused on the negative of me. Why don’t I show my gratitude. Why don’t I tell my hubby how great he is every day. Because I’m a jackass.

Today I wish I could call in a” re-do”. It was one of those nights where “I’m sorry” doesn’t quite cover it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

French Creek

Race #2 of MASS, French Creek. The week was projected to bring enough rain that I truly expected the race to be rescheduled/cancelled. Which lead to me mentally not expecting or wanting to race. The prior two weeks (since Greenbrier) included barely any riding or training. Maybe 35 miles on the road bike over two weeks. But the race was on, it'd be a little muddy but never the less, it was happening. Wiether I felt like racing or not.

At the start we were informed the website had an error and we would be racing 9 miles, not 6. It caught a few people of guard that hadn't even brought water. I realized I hadn't really eated much.

The race started with a nice gravel climb... I suck at climbing. Really really suck. I honestly thought about just turning around and calling it quits. But I trundged on and made my way to the single track and entered the singletrack 2nd to last out of 13 women (W1 & W2). Singletrack meant Rocks and Mud. Now we're talking, this is mountain biking. So it took me a few minutes but then I started getting into it. I began just enjoying the terrain and even though there continued to be more and more climbing (seemed like neverending climbing), it was the kind of climbing I could enjoy more than a gravel road. Downills felt great, flying over rocks and anything else on the trail. I was passing without hesitation, yelling out the line I'd be taking. (And yelling out lines for all the sport & elite racers catching me to pass through).

I knew I had passed a few beginner women but had no idea were I might be. I kept trudging until around 7 miles in and then I basically bonked. 7 miles and I was spent. No one was in sight behind me, I just wanted to slow up but I tried hard to push myself, I didn't want to be passed.

Finally I was informed the end was near, just some downhills and flats - and some mud. Surprisingly the trails were in great shape. Some wetness and mud here and there but not the gooey sludge I thought. The only real puddle was near the end and by that point I was more than happy to just plow through it. The bike was actually less muddy than I expected...

Once the results were finally posted I learned I finished 3rd in W2. Fourth out of the 13 beginner women. Still not sure how I feel about that. Considering no training, not feeling like racing and almost calling it quits - I guess okay. But I really need to get in shape so I can actually climb. Where would I have finished if I could have actually kept up with everyone on the gravel climb? This is what I'll have to use to motivate me.

So yesterday brought me 3rd and the bronze....

Hubby - he rocks, got first and the gold. And this week he gets to enjoying showing me what the gold looks like.